This article covers everything important you need to know about the Nehru Report.

Important Events:

  • Lord Birkenhead openly criticized Indians by declaring that Indians are not capable of drafting a constitution for themselves.
  • As an answer to Lord Birkenhead, an All Parties Conference was called in Feb 1928 and a committee was appointed to draft a constitution under the chairmanship of Motilal Nehru.
  • This committee prepared a draft constitution in Aug 1928 which was known as the Nehru Report.
  • This was the first major attempt by Indians to draft a constitution for the country.

Main recommendations of the report:

1. Dominion status for India, within the British Commonwealth.

2. Equal rights for men and women as citizens.

3. Nineteen fundamental rights including right to vote for men and women above 21 years of age.

4. Full protection of cultural and religious interest of minorities.

5. Complete dissolution of state from religion.

6. No separate electorate for any community instead it provided for reservation of seats for Muslims at the centre and at the provinces where they were in minority and not in Bengal and Punjab where they were in minority.

7. A Federal form government with residuary powers with the centre.  

8. Bicameral Legislature at the centre where ministries will be responsible to the legislature.

9. Division of provision on linguistic basis.

10. Governor-General to be the constitutional head of India who would be appointed by the British monarch.

Response of Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose towards Nehru Report:

  • Younger section of Congress party including Nehru and Bose did not agree with the idea of ‘Dominion Status’ and considered it as a step backwards.
  • This section of leaders emphasized on complete independence instead of dominion status.
  • In 1928, Nehru and Bose organized “Independence for India League” to fight for complete independence of India and a socialist revival of economic structure of India.
  • What is a Dominion Status: Dominion Status was officially defined in Belfour Declaration of 1926 which says a dominion is an autonomous territory within the British empire.

Communal Response towards Nehru Report:

Muslims leaders were not satisfied with the Nehru report and demanded some amendments. So they met Motilal Nehru and suggested 4 amendments to be incorporated in the draft constitution:

1. 1/3rd representation of Muslims in Central Legislative Assembly.

2. Representation of Muslims in proportion of their population in Punjab and Bengal.

3. Formation of three new Muslim majority provinces: Sindh, Baluchistan and NWFP.

4. Joint electorate instead of separate electorate with reserved seats for Muslims.

>> These four proposals came to be known as “Delhi Proposal” and were accepted by Congress at Madras session in December 1927.

>> Hindu Mahasabha opposed the formation of new provinces and communal representation in Punjab and Bengal. So Motilal Nehru made concessions to Hindu Mahasabha and altered Delhi Proposal.

At All Party Conference held at Calcutta in 1928, Jinnah made three amendments to the report:

1. 1/3rd representation of Muslims in the Central legislature.

2. Reservation to Muslims in Bengal and Punjab in proportion to their population, till universal adult suffrage was established.

3. Residuary powers to be vested with the provinces and not with the centre.

>> Since these demands of Jinnah were not accepted, Jinnah went back to the Shafi section of Muslim league and gave his famous ‘fourteen points’ in March 1929, which became the basis of all future agenda of Muslim league.

Jinnah’s fourteen demands:

1. The federal government with residuary powers vested with the province.

2. Provinces must be granted autonomy.

3. No constitutional amendment by the centre without the agreement of the states.

4. All legislatures and elected bodies in the country to have adequate Muslim representation without reducing Muslim majority in a province to minority or equality.

5. Adequate representation to the Muslims in the services and self-governing bodies.

6. 1/3rd representation of Muslims in the Central legislature.

7. 1/3rd representation of Muslims in central and provincial cabinets.

8. Separate Electorate.

9. No bill or resolution to be passed by the legislature if 3/4th minority community considers such a bill or resolution against their interest.

10. Any territorial reorganization shall not affect the Muslim majority of NWFP, Punjab and Bengal.

11. Sindh should be separated from Bombay presidency.

12. Reforms should be introduced in Baluchistan and NWFP on the same line as in other provinces.

13. Full religious freedom to all communities.

14. Adequate safeguards for the protection of cultural, religious, language and educational rights of Muslims.

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